T Nation

Bench Press and Strongman


how many of you actually bench press?

im quite lean so when i lie down on the bench i have my elbows far below 90 degrees. as a result when i flat bench my shoulders always hurt afterwards in a bad way. it feels better when i use the wide grip but i cant do closegrip without feeling some strain in my shoulders.

what ive been told is that bench pressing is the best for upper body strength since the weight that you can handle is far above what you can press overhead. my question is, is the bp really necessary in strongman?


I personally feel that it has good carryover to my overhead. The more upper body strength, the better. There's just not a need to do it as often which can help keep you healthy.


I used to never bench seriously not even close grip for triceps I did Inclines occasionally but still almost never. Now 3 weeks ago I decided to enter a strongman comp here in GA on,a whim but I had been training nothing but the Bench Press for over a month had not done a single overhead movement in well over a month. Went to the comp a nailed a 270lbs Log Press easier than I have ever pressed it. Now I am a huge believer in what the Bench Press can do for your overhead especially at the lockout. They ate now a staple in my weekly training.


I feel that if you program properly then you can do movements similar to the bench press with all of the benefit . Personally my shoulders do get achy and I do seem to lose some shoulder mobility when I bench press on a consistent basis(once a week). So what I chose to do instead is either floor press with a swissbar/football bar or do incline pressing with a moderate grip. I understand that the incline press is still a long range of motion but for me it doesn't bother my shoulders so give it a shot.

I generally do not go lower than 5 reps on either exercise as well, usually in the 5-10rep range. Having worked these into my program over the past 8 weeks(was benching about once a week for the previous 3 months) I hit a 25 pound PR on my Log Press and a rep PR on my Axle Press at 265. They key is to find a press in the horizontal plane that doesn't bother your shoulders, stick with it and see if your overhead pressing reaps any of the benefits.


getting an arch on bench has nothing to do with being lean. You need to develop thoracic spine flexibility and perfect your technique.

I follow my push pressing with close grip bench or close grip paused floor presses, as I feel this has a greater carryover to my overhead lifting and lockouts. You can add bands or chains to make the lockouts harder.


hahahaha yeah i guess i am making excuses for my poor back flexibility.

this is good news from all the posts ive been reading so far. does this mean i can switch the flat bench out and only do inclines?


I don't see anything wrong with that if that is easier on your shoulders. In fact incline bench will probably benefit your overhead pressing more than flat benching.


In most strongman contests you will find an overhead lift. Like an axle clean and press or log clean and press.

I would focus more on those lifts and then hit CG bench or incline bench. I find that my overhead strength is always higher if I am pressing overhead and supplementing with some sort of bench press.